Are you suffering from cold or nasal congestion that does not seem to get better even after weeks of an allopathic medicine course? If your answer to this question is yes, we recommend you get yourself checked for nasal polyps.
Do not worry; they are not something serious and can be treated easily.
Nasal polyps are non-cancerous cysts that grow in the nasal cavity, especially in the lining of the nose, paranasal sinuses, or mucosa.
Mucosa plays an important role in safeguarding the inside of the nose from infections and other allergies. However, after contact with an infection and bacteria, the mucosa becomes red and swollen, producing fluid and eventually developing into polyps.
Nasal polyps are not serious and painful. However, they can grow without treatment, eventually obstructing the nose and making breathing hard. Hence, people with nasal polyps often confuse their blocked nose and runny nose as symptoms of a cold.
Nasal polyps do not have any significant symptoms. Some of its symptoms which are like cough and cold are:
- Nasal congestion
- Blocked nose
- Runny nose
- No sense of smell
- Deep breathing through the mouth
- Excessive snoring
- Sudden nose bleeds
- Pain in the upper jaw
- Sleep apnea
There are no specific causes related to nasal polyps. Researchers believe people may or may not develop polyps due to frequent exposure to nasal cavity infections and bacteria.
Some also believe that the growth of polyps can be associated with the immune system or the chemical makeup of the nasal cavity.
Some other risks factors which are associated with nasal polyps are:
- Aspirin allergy
- Excessive vitamin D deficiency
- Cystic fibrosis
- Fungal allergic sinusitis
- Churg-Strauss syndrome
- Genetic history
It is almost impossible to diagnose nasal polyps at home. These cysts usually develop in the upper lining of the nasal cavity near the mucosa, which is not easily visible.
The doctor, especially an ENT specialist can diagnose it by looking up into the nasal passage using medical tools like an otoscope or a nasoscope. However, if the polyps are more deeply embedded, even tools like an otoscope won’t be able to catch it. In such cases, doctors perform a nasal endoscopy.
During nasal endoscopy, the doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube attached to a light and camera to view the nasal passage properly. This allows a clear picture of the polyps embedded deep into the cavity.
Once a nasal polyp has been diagnosed, your doctor might want to know the exact location and size of the cyst. For this, a CT scan or an MRI scan is performed. These scans not only determine the precise location and size of the polyp but also verify whether the polyp has deformed the nasal bone.
Medication for nasal polyp
Nasal polyps can be treated with proper medication in 10-12 weeks. For starters, your doctor will most probably recommend nasal corticosteroid spray or nasal drops to reduce the size of the polyp.
Regular usage of the spray and drops will reduce the size of the polyp. In some cases, spray can also completely dry off the polyp until it falls off. However, these sprays can cause side effects like headaches, nosebleeds, congested noses, etc.
Sometimes, doctors also recommend some steroid tablets to be taken along with the spray/nasal drop to fasten the process of shrinking the polyp. Though, steroid medications can cause more severe side effects like weight gain, allergic reactions, irregular periods in women, etc. Some commonly prescribed steroids for shrinking polyps are mometasone, fluticasone, budesonide, etc.
In rare cases, when the medication is not working or the polyp is huge, surgery has to be performed to remove it altogether. The surgery to remove nasal polyps is called polypectomy, in which a small device with suction is used to cut and extract the polyp from the nasal cavity.
In cases when the polyp is embedded too deep into the nasal cavity, doctors have to enlarge the opening to the sinus cavity before being able to extract the polyp. This is a little more intrusive surgical method called endoscopic sinus surgery.
After surgery and the successful removal of the polyp, patients are asked to continue using nasal sprays and drops to prevent the regrowth of the polyps.
Here are some tips you can keep in mind for the prevention of nasal polyps:
- Practice proper nasal hygiene to prevent infections. Clean out your nasal cavities regularly.
- Avoid inhaling possible irritants like harsh chemicals, perfumes, deodorants, etc.
- If you have asthma, take your medication regularly.
- Use humidifiers if you live in an excessively humid climate.
Nasal polyps might seem to be a scary health condition, but with proper treatment, they can be easily cured. If you or your loved one is suffering from a nasal polyp and have not been able to treat it successfully, do not worry.
To get access to the best nasal polyp treatment, visit CK Birla Hospital or book an appointment with Dr Anish Gupta. The highly qualified medical professionals and cutting-edge technology at the hospital will provide you with the best and hassle-free treatment plans.